Inspired for the nth time by a re-reading of my friend Jackie Halstead’s article about Examen in the New Wineskins archive (and prompted to read it again this week by Greg Taylor), I’ve resolved to blog between now and Thanksgiving about nothing but the things I’m thankful for – in no particular order; just as they occur to me when I ask myself “What am I thankful for?”
Angi is the first thing that comes to my mind. I met her at church in the singles class. She was wearing a brown suit and had the bluest eyes I have ever seen. She was enduring a trying divorce; mine was seven years behind me. I don’t know what she saw in me, and I only perceived a fraction of how extraordinary she is!
I didn’t see how joyful she could be until her mom, Harriette, visited. When I saw them together, a few pews ahead of me, I had an experience I still find difficult to believe. Inside my head, a silent voice said to me: “You could be very happy married to this woman for the rest of your life.” It wasn’t the same as having a conversation with yourself. It was someone else’s silent voice. I can’t say it was a guarantee or a prophecy; I think of it more as a nudge.
We group-dated. We double-dated. We dated. Angi immediately set to work editing my closet while I was out of town and replaced some of my cheap outdated duds with some nice, quality gear.
Together with some friends from church – and Angi’s mom! – we dressed like crooks from the 1890s and robbed a tourist train operated by the dad of a good friend, Bob McClanahan.
So when it came time to propose, it was on the luncheon train at Eureka Springs. Angi looked just like this.
I handed her a poster that I had designed on my computer at work that featured a picture of her from the “robbery” and it said:
Angela Laird Pfeiffer
Consortin’ With A Convicted Fella,
Stealin’ His Heart,
Givin’ Away His Clothes,
An’ Robbin’ Him Of Any Hopes
Of Bein’ Happy Without Her
PLEASE TURN THIS SUSPECT OVER TO THE CUSTODY OF W. KEITH BRENTON SO’S HE CAN DELIVER TWO LIFE SENTENCES (TO BE SERVED IN SUCCESSION): “I LOVE YOU” AND “WILL YOU MARRY ME?”
She said yes to becoming my wife. We married that winter and I don’t think I’ve bought myself a stitch of clothing since; she keeps me in fashion. She’s now mom to our two adopted children, baker of world-class sugar cookies, and in October conducted a women’s retreat at church that ladies are still raving about. She’s the Dean of the College of Professional Studies at UALR; teaches at the Clinton School of Public Service, Pepperdine University, and elsewhere as requested; and has been a consultant to the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service in her field of specialty, conflict management and resolution. I married way over my head, but just right for my heart.
We’ve moved a few times as her career has progressed, and I’d follow her to the ends of the earth.
I am convinced that there is no one else even remotely like her on the face of the earth and no others need apply.
So today, my prayer of examen is simple:
Thank you, God, for my unique and beautiful wife.